DES MOINES Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey commented on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through October.
"Corn and soybeans are both being stressed by the dry weather and high temperature and the condition both crops continue to deteriorate. Now only 36 percent of the corn and 38 percent of the soybeans are in good to excellent condition statewide," Northey said.
Although Iowa received scattered showers during the week, the bulk of the week was dry and sunny. Both corn and soybean crop conditions deteriorated as high temperatures and below normal precipitation continued to take a toll. The week's activities included spraying crops and cutting hay, with some farmers starting their third cutting.
There were 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Topsoil moisture levels declined to 58 percent very short, 34 percent short, 8 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus. South Central Iowa is the driest with 99 percent of the topsoil moisture rated short to very short. Subsoil moisture dropped to 48 percent very short, 41 percent short, 11 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus.
Eighty-seven percent of the corn crop is at or beyond the tasseling stage, ahead of last year's 41 percent and the five-year average of 43 percent. Seventy-four percent of the corn crop is silking, ahead of last year's 23 percent and the five-year average of 27 percent. Reports show corn has reached the dough stage in each district. Corn condition is reported at 8 percent very poor, 19 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 32 percent good, and 4 percent excellent. Seventy-four percent of the soybean crop is blooming, ahead of both last year and five-year average of 54 percent. Pods are being set on 12 percent of the soybean crop, ahead of last year's four percent and the five-year average of nine percent. Soybean condition is rated 5 percent very poor, 15 percent poor, 42 percent fair, 34 percent good, and 4 percent excellent. Ninety-eight percent of the oat crop has turned color, ahead of last year's 70 percent and the five-year average of 75 percent. Seventy-two percent of the oat crop has been harvested, two weeks ahead of normal. Oat condition is rated 4 percent very poor, 18 percent poor, 34 percent fair, 38 percent good, and 6 percent excellent. Harvest of second cutting of alfalfa hay, at 95 percent complete, is a month ahead of the normal pace. Harvest of third cutting of alfalfa hay, at 17 percent complete, is almost two weeks ahead of normal. Hay condition is rated 15 percent very poor, 24 percent poor, 40 percent fair, 20 percent good, and 1 percent excellent.
Less than ten percent of Iowa's pasture and range land is rated good to excellent. Pasture and range condition rated 26 percent very poor, 36 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 8 percent good, and 1 percent excellent. The heat continues to cause stress for livestock with some deaths being reported.
By Harry Hillaker,
Iowa Department of
Agriculture & Land Stewardship
The past week brought a brief respite from hot weather as temperatures edged slightly below normal from Tuesday through Thursday morning. However, temperatures were well above normal again by Friday. Elkader reported the lowest temperature of the week with a Thursday morning low of 51 degrees while Knoxville was the hottest with a 99 degree maximum on Sunday (15th). Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 2.5 degrees above normal. There were some isolated thunderstorms on Monday (9th) and Saturday (14th) with the most widespread rainfall on Friday morning. A few locations, mostly in the northeast, received rainfall of greater than one inch while others, mostly across the west and south, saw no rain at all. Weekly rain totals varied from zero at locations such as Shenandoah, Red Oak, Ottumwa, Le Mars, Iowa City and Clarion to 2.31 inches at Grundy Center and 3.04 inches at Perry. The statewide average precipitation was only 0.28 inches or about one-fourth of the weekly normal of 1.05 inches. This was the ninth week among the past ten with below normal rainfall and tenth of the past eleven with above normal temperatures.